North Vancouver tennis player Filip Peliwo’s parents knew he was destined to be a champion more than a decade before he won the 2012 Wimbledon boys’ title.
The 18-year-old defeated Australian Luke Saville in straight sets 7-5 and 6-4 on July 8 to take home the trophy and prove he’s the best male junior player in the world.
The game was Peliwo’s first victory in a Grand Slam final after three attempts.
“Since he was two years old he has been amazingly skilled and very co-ordinated,” said his mother Monika Peliwo, who drove him to daily practices before and after school.
Peliwo started playing tennis at public parks in North Vancouver, but switched to the North Shore Winter Club when he became more serious once he turned eight years old.
He went to Larson elementary and left Sentinel secondary school in West Vancouver to train professionally in Montreal, where he completed his Grade 12 studies.
Peliwo started playing both soccer and tennis but had to pick one sport because there wasn’t enough time to practice both.
“He was very talented at soccer and he really enjoyed playing it, but tennis was what he liked best. He never once complained about going to practice,” his mother said.
Peliwo is the youngest of three children and the first born in Canada to Polish parents, all of whom are athletic.
“There wasn’t much going on when training professionally for tennis here in Vancouver, at least back then. So he had to move away to train in Montreal,” his mother said.
Becoming a tennis star was a long time coming for Peliwo, who could shoot basketballs when he was just a toddler and quickly became extremely dedicated to the sport, she said.
“It was such a long road and so much hard work, and now we know he is one of the very best in the world.”
Peliwo won a title along with fellow Canadian Eugénie Bouchard who claimed the girls’ trophy.
He will be playing closer to home at the Odium Brown VanOpen at the Hollyburn Country Club on July 28.